Flora in Your Home: The Basics of Indoor Herb Gardening
People who live in apartments, townhouses, or other places that don't allow the luxury of a large garden need not give up on their herb garden dreams. An indoor herb garden is slightly harder to grow because it will still need sufficient sunlight, good soil, water, and a good drainage system, but it is one that can be practical for someone in this type of living situation. Indoor herb gardens can also bring life, fragrance, and an earthy decorative look to your home.
First, identify which areas of your home get the most sun. You can use this knowledge to situate your plants, as well as decide which herbs you want to grow. If there aren't any good spots for sunlight, you can invest in some grow lamps or fluorescent lamps which are great for helping your plants along, and this also allows you to grow your herbs all year round.
Next, decide what kind of containers you'll be putting your herbs in. These may affect your list of herb choices as some herbs grow up to certain heights and widths. If you have the space, though, large pots by the window can accommodate the larger plants. One of the perks about having an indoor herb garden is that you can invest is some great quality soil. You won't have to find a way to work with the soil in your garden, the way some people who have large gardens do. Investing in good soil ensures your plants will be healthy and happy, and this means great tasting and smelling herbs.
Choose herbs that you like. If you're going for fragrance, choose flowering herbs, as some of these flowering herbs can be turned into tea. Many herbs used for cooking have lovely fragrances as well, and that's an herb with two uses! Basil is always a popular choice for the kitchen, but oregano gives off a great aroma while being cooked too. Just remember to keep your herbs far from the stove or oven, as you don't want the heat of this area affecting your plants. For an earthy look, go for taller, green herbs, though the purple type of basil is a great way to achieve this too.
Remember that your indoor herb garden has water requirements. The plants need a moist environment, not soaking. Place some stones or gravel at the bottom of the pot or containers that your indoor herb garden plants are in. These stones will soak the water and help the drainage problems by lessening the wetness. Be sure that your pots or containers have holes at the bottom, and place them on top of a dish where the excess water can seep out into.
While these general tricks will work for most herbs, you may want to look into the specifics of each plant, and how they grow. This is not only useful for growing them well, but it can also be used in grouping plants together. Other than that, your indoor herb garden will need the maintenance and care that an outdoor herb garden would. Prune your indoor herb garden, cut the flowering buds if you want to prolong their lives, and divide the plants in half once a year making sure to replant the halves into separate pots. You can give these extra plants away, or find other places to put them. Like all gardens, an indoor herb garden flourishes with care.